NHL Betting Guide: Monday 5/17/21

It's a playoff-only schedule on the NHL docket tonight with three games, featuring East, Central, and West Division series. The Boston Bruins will try to even their series with the Washington Capitals, while the Carolina Hurricanes versus Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche versus St. Louis Blues series get underway.

Here are a few plays from our daily projections!

Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues

Blues +1.5 (-105): 2-Star Rating out of 5
Over 5.5 (-102): 1-Star Rating out of 5

Favorites are off to a rough start in this year's postseason. Underdogs have taken three of the first four matchups, with all three needing overtime. The betting market at FanDuel Sportsbook has the Avalanche installed as -320 favorites, which is creating value on the Blues.

The Blues ended the regular season on a three-game winning streak, outscoring their opponents by a cumulative 13-4 score. St. Louis' scoring was propelled by increased production metrics, as the Blues attempted above-average high-danger chances in three of their final five games. Scoring chances were also above 30 in two of those five games.

Irrespective of lens, Colorado was the most dominant team in the NHL this season. The Avs finished the season as President Trophy winners and with the best advanced metrics in the league.

However, despite their league-best scoring chances and high-danger chances allowed, the Avs still finished with the 11th-best save percentage. Colorado's offensive metrics were nearly as impressive as their defensive stats, as they ranked second in the league in scoring chances and third in high-danger chances across all strengths. The Avs can trade blows if the Blues want to push the pace offensively.

The Blues are seeing increased output, and the Avs have shown that goaltending isn't their biggest strength. But the Avs have scored three or more goals in four of their last five and have been a dominant team all season. That could lead to a high-scoring Game 1 in this series.

Both teams are bringing offensive momentum with them into tonight's contest. The first four playoff games have all been one-goal games, and based on our projections, that trend will be extended by the Blues tonight. There's an implied advantage in taking the Blues to win, but the biggest advantage comes in backing them on the puckline, which we rate as a two-star play. There's also value on the over, which we rate as a one-star play.

Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins

Over 5.5 (+116): 1-Star Rating Out of 5

Goaltending could be an issue for the Capitals. Vitek Vanecek went down early in Game 1, paving the way for Craig Anderson to get just his third start of the season for the Caps. While Ilya Samsonov has been removed from the COVID-19 list, it appears as though Anderson remains the starter for Game 2 of the series tonight.

Anderson has had diminishing metrics over the prior three seasons, posting a combined 90.0% save percentage and -44.7 goals saved above average. Now, he will be tasked with stopping a Bruins squad that is due for increased output.

The Bruins continue to create scoring chances. Boston has attempted at least 11 high-danger chances in eight of their last nine games and 27 or more scoring chances in seven of nine. However, their shooting percentage has decreased over their last seven despite the persistent efforts. The Bruins have put up below-average shooting percentages in five of their last seven games.

The B's finished the regular season with six players scoring 10 or more goals, including Taylor Hall who was acquired before the trade deadline. They have elite finishers who are due for a few good bounces.

The Caps have been efficient offensively over their recent sample, as well. Washington has attempted double-digit high-danger chances in 9 of their last 10 and 30 or more scoring chances in 5 of 6. Output has dropped, though, as the Caps haven't scored more than two goals in any of their last four games.

Both teams are due for increased output, which should lead to a high-scoring game tonight. That aligns with our projections, which rate the over as a two-star play.